Is the Opioid Crisis responsible for helping to mobilize some of the greatest new approaches to help people change? Or have these great techniques been brewing under the surface, being applied to different problems and issues, highlighted now because of the vast numbers affected by opioid addiction?

I’m not sure about this chicken and egg story, but I do know that the very numbers of people affected have helped to motivate people from parents to medical and counseling professionals to volunteers, to understand what is the best way to help their loved ones, friends, or patients stay alive, number one, and flourish in their life, number two.

An approach seen over and over again in addiction treatment circles is Motivational Interviewing (MI). The whole idea behind MI is that the patient, or drug user, is the main expert in figuring out what he or she wants to do with his or her life.

This makes sense on so many levels, yet it is a new concept for many people. Rather than “righting” someone with a statement such as “Heroin is bad for you, it can kill you. Surely, you are bright enough to recognize this?”, MI invites a conversation with each person to initially determine two things:

How motivated are you to make a change?

– AND –

How confident are you that you can make this change?

The rest of the dialogue flows from there, and in the hands of a skilled and compassionate therapist, the patient is respectfully guided toward looking inside and answering those questions.

For people who are still in the Pre-contemplative phase, who don’t perceive their drug use as a problem, arguing the point may be counterproductive; patients need to know: the choice to continue to use drugs is theirs.

Often the best approach is to have them consider what they most value. A relationship, a job, a pet, a position, their health, etc., and consider how drug use is affecting this important aspect of their life.

In the Contemplative or Preparation stage of change, MI can help reveal patients’ confidence at being able to make even the smallest changes in the service of what they value. Here one cannot underrate the importance of the patient to be working with someone who can guide them to the best resources for helping them where they are at the moment.

The Action phase of behavioral change is where the patient is actually implementing their plan.

The Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine has been helping motivated patients for over twenty-five years achieve their sobriety goals. Long-acting naltrexone can help give a patient confidence in maintaining their opioid abstinence.

Dr. Coleman sees patients at his Richmond, Virginia office when he is not meeting with insurance executives, educating them on the benefits of a rapid opioid detox (or hiking the tallest peaks in every state ... or paddle-board surfing). He has trained doctors around the country to use his protocols for helping patients reclaim what they value most in their lives; those people and things that have been neglected and forsaken because of their Substance Use Disorder (SUD).

Our detox program helps people get off all opioid medications. This includes, but is not limited to: oxycodone, hydromorpone, hydrocodone, Vicodin®, Vicoprofen®, Roxicontin®, Roxicet®, Roxicodone®, Dilaudid®, heroin, fentanyl, buprenorphine, and more.


Motivation ebbs and flows. As the nation’s most experienced leader in naltrexone therapy, we are well positioned to be part of your loved one’s long term strategy to remain off opioids for good.

When motivation is strong, be prepared to enhance confidence with a rapid opioid detox and long acting naltrexone therapy.

Give us a call to see if we are a good fit for each other.

Joan R. Shepherd, FNP



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